Friday, September 21, 2012

Tax Haven Britain - now they want more!

The Guardian lead story is headed Make UK more like a tax haven - Tory Treasurer.  We have news for Lord Fink: the UK is already a tax haven, has been for decades, and sits at the core of a web of tax havens spread across the world which probably constitutes the largest integrated tax haven in the world, including as it does, long established secrecy jurisdictions in Cayman, the British Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, etc, etc, etc.

As the Guardian reports, Lord Fink is both a major donor to Conservative party funds and also heads a hedge fund.  The British tax authorities, HM Revenue & Customs, already allows extraordinary tax privileges to hedge funds located in London - see here for more detail - but Fink wants to embed these privileges further.  As the Guardian discloses, Fink has:

"lobbied George Osborne (Britain's finance minister - pictured above) for a cut in taxes on invisible earnings so that he and other hedge funders no longer feel obliged to set up companies in places such as Cayman Islands."

We've yet to see how Osborne reacts, but we know he is inclined towards supporting tax cuts for wealthy people and financiers (almost his first action on taking office was to cut the corporate tax rate while hiking up the value added tax rate which impacts most heavily on poorer households) and we fully expect him to move in this direction in due course.

Fink is not a lone voice in the British parliament.  As the Guardian article reveals, scores of elected and non-elected parliamentarians in Britain are directly involved in tax haven based companies, and others, including Osborne himself, have family connections to offshore trusts.  

It is high time that the world focussed more attention on Britain's role as an offshore tax haven, and the part it has played in degrading regulation and tax systems across the world.  The Guardian articles reveals how captive Britain's polity is to tax haven interests, and we intend to take this research even further in the coming months.

You can read the Guardian article here


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